Mathematician suggests firing deep-ocean sound waves could stop tsunamis

deep ocean sound wave tsunami 17580401 l
Kevin Carden/123RF
Tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves, can be devastating. In 2004, a 100-foot wave in the Indian Ocean resulted in at least 230,000 deaths in one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. In 2011, another tsunami led to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster when waves exceeded the height of the plant’s sea wall.

It is therefore a massive understatement to say that figuring out a way to stop tsunamis in their tracks would be a good thing.

With that in mind, a mathematician at the U.K.’s Cardiff University has just presented a new idea he thinks could help: halting tsunamis by using deep-ocean sound waves to rob them of their amplitude and height.

“The classical water wave theory ignores the effects of water compressibility on the grounds that acoustic (sound) and surface (gravity) waves are virtually decoupled,” Dr. Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, told Digital Trends. “This is justified for many applications as acoustic and surface water waves have very different temporal and spatial timescales that each can be treated as if the other did not exist.”

“[To the] contrary,” Kadri goes on, “acoustic-gravity wave theory concerns both compressibility and gravity effects and provides a general solution for these two types of waves. The most exciting part is that despite the differences, providing the right conditions, these waves will resonate with each other and exchange energy.”

Such acoustic-gravity waves could be repeatedly fired until a tsunami was dispersed.

It should be noted that, at present, this is still just a smart theory, rather than anything which has been tested in the real world. The next step would involve a proof-of-concept experiment, which could be carried out on a small scale at a research facility with a wave tank. For that to happen, Dr. Kadri said that he will need to “collaborate with experimentalists that have the proper facility and equipment.”

Only after that is done would serious thought need to be put into building a machine large enough to fire off suitably large acoustic-gravity waves.

“If it is proved theoretically, then the rest is an engineering challenge and a policy maker’s call,” Kadri continued. “There is a lot to be accomplished prior to any practical move. In particular, there is a need to study the environmental effects, along with a more realistic interaction scenarios.”

Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Movies & TV

Study up for season 8 with the best Game of Thrones theories

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is still on the horizon, meaning there's still time to brush up on the best theories about the show. Whether you're one of the last adherents of the Cleganebowl or a King Aerys truther, here are our top theories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.